BOSTON - Tuukka Rask's return is creeping closer.
The ace netminder has been medically cleared following his concussion and will be Anton Khudobin's backup on Thursday night when the Bruins host the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy wanted to give Rask an extra day of practice before getting him back between the pipes on Saturday night against Los Angeles.
"We're all in agreement, training staff, coach, player himself, that another practice tomorrow will be the best preparation for him to go in Saturday," Cassidy said following Thursday's morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena.
Rask took part in the optional pregame skate and tried to replicate his normal game-day routine as best as possible.
"It gives me a couple extra days of work," said Rask. "I'm gonna prepare like I'm playing tonight to get into the normal routine again. Practice tomorrow and get ready for Saturday.
"We've got three big games coming up so you figured Dobby's gonna play one of those anyways. I think it's fair that I get a couple extra days of work and I'll be more ready on Saturday."
With his symptoms subsided, Rask said his focus is now on conditioning.
"I felt good. No symptoms whatsoever," said Rask. "When you don't skate for four or five days it doesn't matter if you skate for five days or a month you have to get back in shape."
Cassidy also said defenseman Kevan Miller "looks good, so he should play" against the Sharks, but will remain a game-time decision.
After a strong weekend in Providence, during which he had a goal and five assists, Danton Heinen was recalled from the P-Bruins on Thursday morning and could be in the lineup. Heinen also has three assists in three games with Boston this season.
"He played well when he was here," said Cassidy. "We're not definitive on the forward group tonight, I will say that. We'll make a decision tonight. But we liked what Danton brought. He went down to Providence, had a really good weekend, worked on his game, played well and now he's back."
Rookie Charlie McAvoy will get his first look at the Sharks, a team he says he has the utmost respect for.
"They're a great team. They have some players that are the best in the league, who I've been watching for a while," said McAvoy. "They made the Cup [Final] a couple years ago, they still have a lot of those guys. They're a great team and they should be respected.
"But we're confident in here that we can go out and put our best foot forward. We expect to get 2 points every night."